BeReal, dubbed the ‘anti-Instagram’ has won over Gen Z and other social media users who want a place to share real, unfiltered, ad-free everyday moments. With millions of users all over the world, and backed by some of the biggest global VCs, there’s only one question on everyone’s lips: how are they going to make money?
What is BeReal?
BeReal is a fast-growing social media network with an aim to bring back authenticity and ‘realness’. In other words, Instagram when it first launched in 2010 with filters so bad, we were happy to be filter-free. BeReal users upload just one photo a day within their community of friends, capturing what they are doing in that moment.
To get started, users need to download the app and create an account. The app can sync their contact list to let users know who’s already using the app, and who they can invite to join. Shortly after, they’ll receive a notification asking them to share a photo within two minutes. This will happen daily so active notifications are mandatory for users.
The photo’s must be captured within BeReal’s app which has a unique camera design. The majority of the photo will be what the user is doing from the rear-facing camera, and in the top left corner, there’ll be a snapshot of the user or their surroundings from the front-facing camera.
BeReal has successfully become a staple app for Gen Z because they promote authentic moments. EY reported that Gen Z aren’t looking for a ‘picture perfect’ life. Instead, 92% indicated that being true to themselves is extremely important. This statistic rose by 16% pre-pandemic levels.
The (brief) story of BeReal
BeReal was founded by two French entrepreneurs, Alexis Barreyat and Kévin Perreau. The pair met when studying at French coding school, 42 born2code, which was created by billionaire businessman Xavier Niel.
Barreyat and Perreau wanted to create a photo-sharing app that would constitute for what social media apps were supposed to be: a fun space to connect with your friends and family without having to conform to an algorithm or trending aesthetic.
In December 2019, BeReal was launched to the world. The first year saw just a few hundred downloads a month, but the real growth began during Q4 of 2020.
The initial traction of the app spurred from word-of-mouth and their paid College Ambassador Programme. “Entrepreneurial, motivated and well-connected" students studying in the US can sign up to promote BeReal on their campus through hosting parties, managing a marketing budget and representing the social media app at relevant campus events.
Where BeReal is today:
- As of October 2022, 53 million installs worldwide
- As of August 2022, 10 million daily users (a significant increase from April 2022 at 2.93 million daily users)
- BeReal is the 10th most popular app in the US on Apple’s App Store
- Each user is worth around $100
- According to their LinkedIn company page, they have 129 employees and growing
(Data source: Online Optimism)
How does BeReal make money?
Well, they don’t. Yet.
Currently the app does not have any revenue streams which is typically unheard-of considering its current size. They do however generate revenue through external investment.
Let’s have a look at their funding history:
Xavier Niel, the businessman who founded the coding school both founders met at, discovered BeReal once his son began using the app. Niel also owns an investment firm, Kima Ventures. Together with New Wave, they signed a term sheet in May 2021.
Only a few weeks later in June 2021, news broke out in Silicon Valley and Andreessen Horowitz, DST Global and Accel joined forces to invest a further $30 million into the app. These funds were used to grow the team from just the two co-founders to several employees within weeks. Fortunately, as the team grew, so did the downloads.
In May 2022, BeReal raised additional funding in a Series B round led by DST Global. The company was noted to be worth $600 million pre-money valuation.
VCs believe in partnering in companies like BeReal because of the long-term revenue potential. Like any business, only time will tell if BeReal was a good investment. But with the founders' firm on the authenticity of the app, people speculate how they’ll be able to monetize BeReal without compromising their values.
Three ways we would monetize BeReal
BeReal’s motive is to rival the algorithms of platforms like Instagram and TikTok so users can share real moments without having to keep up with the Joneses. What their users don’t want is to have their content hidden or have people they don’t follow show up on their feeds, in the push to get them to pay to sponsor their post. If BeReal do fall into this pattern, it could be detrimental to their future.
Not to toot our own horn, but considering what BeReal stands for, we believe our tech could answer the question on how to monetize BeReal.
Kindred for Business is a unique, one-of-a-kind technology that can be installed into any app as an additional (or sole) source of revenue. Unlike in-app ads, we’re completely concealed which means no impact on your UX. We refer to ourselves as an ‘external app monetization solution’ where the magic happens outside of the app – whether your users are dormant or active.
How it works: After a successful integration, we provide your app users with unique discount codes from over 250,000 online merchants and can provide in-app rewards. All your users have to do is activate the feature and start shopping! Kindred automatically collects savings from brands and passes it onto you to generate incremental revenue. You could then pass those onto your users as in-app rewards or put towards ESG initiatives.
You earn commission from each of their online transactions. It’s that simple. There are no disruptive ads or pop-ups. It’s also free! Find out more here.
Why it would be a great solution to monetize BeReal: Our technology has proven itself to generate an additional $2+ ARPMAU for app publishers simply through their users shopping online. BeReal have a unique advantage of hosting a platform to millions of Gen Z and millennial users who hold a large amount of spending power and are the future. With over 2.56 billion Gen Zer’s in the world, they hold a global spending power of $143 billion. Understandably, millennials hold a higher purchasing power of $200 billion.
According to IMRG, 40% of Gen Zer's purchase clothing online and with a rise in social commerce, this is only predicted to increase. The social commerce industry is set to reach a whopping $1.2 trillion by 2025, with Gen Z and millennials accounting for 62% of global social commerce spend.
In conclusion, BeReal will be able to stick to their core values without any compromise on their user experience. For any app, user growth is important, but our solution also eradicates the hustle of finding more users as app publishers will generate incremental revenue for as long as the app is installed.
We have to talk about it because it is the main source of revenue for social media networks. And it works. Should BeReal consider not fixing what isn’t broken when they conclude on their monetization strategy?
Sponsored ads are the paid-for posts you see when you scroll or tap on social media. Companies have paid for visibility to an audience they wouldn’t typically reach organically. It’s effective because it provides the advertiser an opportunity to reach target specific audiences faster than most marketing methods. The better you are at targeting, the better your ROI.
With nearly 2 billion active users, and over 500 million daily users, Instagram is a goldmine for companies to find customers.
BeReal has enough users to pursue this route now, but the worry would be how their users react. They’d need to think strategically about ad placement, what sort of ads they'd allow, the frequency of ads and how can they minimize the impact on UX.
Most importantly, how do they strike a cautious balance between generating revenue - especially in the key interest of their big shot investors - and meaning what they say it is to ‘BeReal’?
When social media platforms first emerged, data and user privacy was an afterthought. It’s only after global scandals like Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica Data fiasco that networks have had to tighten their ropes and put their user’s security first.
Approximately 13% of Twitter’s overall revenue comes from selling user data in bundles. Over 11% of their FY 2021 revenue ($571.8 million) was from data licensing and other sources. These networks are not selling detailed personal information like names or email addresses, but they instead bulk pieces of information such as demographic behaviour, interests and more.
BeReal, like TikTok, is an advantageous position where they’ve captured the hearts of the next generation, soon to be future decision makers. Companies can benefit from the data they store to accurately target their market and stay ahead of the competition.
How exactly they’d capture that data is one question, as well as how they communicate that to their users. In a recent survey conducted by Callsign, they discovered that 54% of social media users didn't trust their personal information with these networks.
The bonus benefit of BeReal using a solution like Kindred for Business, is that through customers shopping online, we are also able to provide secure data to BeReal without compromising user trust through personalised reporting. Advertisers would find this data particularly useful to understand consumer behaviour and receive analytics in real time.
We are excited to see how far BeReal will go and where they’ll choose to land when it comes to monetization. It’s clear that no matter what they do, their outspoken reasons for creating the app – unfiltered, uninterrupted authenticity – will mean all eyes will be on them as they roll out their monetization plan.
Are you looking for ways to generate additional revenue for your mobile app? Book a call with a member of our team to discover how we can help you get started, support you with marketing and take advantage of our bonus integration scheme.